The Caine Mutiny

Bomb Rating: 

Something like a video sleeve or a paragraph in a film guide might lead you to believe that this 1954 Edward Dmytryk film is about the mutiny aboard a destroyer/mine sweeper, the U.S.S. Caine, during World War II. In truth, it's about a boy learning to get away from his overbearing mother.

The relationship between Lt. Keith (Robert Francis) and his mom is just about sickening, both because you wonder how far their home life is from something like Spanking the Monkey, and because it comprises such a large portion of the film, which stars people like Humphrey Bogart, Fred MacMurray, and Jose Ferrer, who are relegated to squeezing their lines in during the times when Lt. Keith, his mother, or his girlfriend (May Wynn) aren't pouting about something.

The whole episode on the ship where Capt. Queeg (Bogart) flips out during a storm and is relieved of duty by Lt. Maryk (Van Johnson) is just a thinly-veiled excuse to watch Lt. Keith evolve from a thumb-sucking momma's boy into a p-whipped future ass-kissing husband.

After the court-martial, during which Maryk is defended by Lt. Greenwald (Jose Ferrer), Lt. Keith proposes to his girl, but also goes back to duty on a new ship. Psychologically-speaking - since it's something the film talks about so much - Willie Keith gets his discipline from the Navy while getting his lovin' from the new wifey, things momma was doing for him all by herself. Apparently, the real Caine Mutiny is in Willie's pants.

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